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Quilting Rulers: What is the best brand?

by Serena Smith

There are hundreds of quilting rulers in all shapes and sizes with many different manufactures! If you are just getting started quilting or even if you have been quilting for a while, all the rulers, sizes and brands can get so confusing! Which brand is the best? Can you use several kinds of rulers in the same project? How can you pick the best one to use?

There are many brands of rulers available, but there a few major ones that sell the most popular and common sizes - Omnigrid, Olfa, Nifty Notions, Quilter's Rule, Creative Grid and ClearView. These companies have rulers available in square, rectangle, triangle and specialty shapes.

What you need to look for in a ruler is accuracy and precision with each cut you make. If you have a ruler that is a 1/32 off of a measurement, that will multiple with each piece or block that you cut and stitch. On large blocks or pieces, that may not be such an issue. But with small pieces that are repeated over and over, that 1/32 will add up quickly and make your fabric pieces harder to match and piece together as you are stitching.

I have found that I prefer Omnigrid and believe that it tends to be the most accurate in its measurements and sizes. I not only like the accuracy they provide, but also enjoy the 30, 45 & 60 degree marked lines for cutting miters and angled pieces. Their rulers provide clearly marked lines and are easy to use. I have used several other brands and while they are great rulers also, I usually find myself going back to Omnigrid.

No matter what brand of ruler you are using, the most important thing you can do it use the same brand or ruler throughout your project! You are more likely to find inconsistencies in your blocks if you alternate brands of rulers on the same project. I may need a larger ruler to cut 12 1/2" squares, but also a smaller ruler to cut 3" x 12 1/2" strips. I may switch from a 12 1/2" square ruler to a 3" x 18" rectangle ruler, but they will both be Omnigrid.

Another reason I prefer Omnigrid rulers is for the selection and variety in rulers they make. I can switch rulers throughout my project, knowing that I am not losing accuracy in the pieces I am cutting. No matter what brand you have or what brand you like, stick with the same one throughout your project.

You will find everyone has a personal preference in quilting rulers. You will too, so try cutting with several brands and see what is the easiest for you to use. You want a ruler that you will be able to pick up and use with just a glance at it. I would recommend that you stick with one of the major brands that carry multiple sizes and shapes, so you can easily switch rulers and not have to fear changing rulers and getting mismatched blocks.


Serena Smith is an avid embroidery and quilting enthusiast living in Kansas. Creating new projects and sharing them with others through local classes and online lessons is one of her greatest joys. Visit her website, Embroidery Treasures, for fun projects, helpful tips, inspiration, notions, fabrics and embroidery supplies!

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2007 Serena Smith
Embroidery Treasures

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